Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner, which means the 2023 college football season is less than two months away.
The burning questions for every team are starting to build some momentum and at media days we will finally get the answers to some of those questions. But what about the conference? It’s a new era for the Big 12 and there’s plenty of new faces to see. So with that being said, here are the top five questions across the Conference heading into 2023 Big 12 Media Days.
Brett Yormark’s First Media Days
It’s felt like much longer, but Brett Yormark technically hasn’t been on the job for one year as Big 12 Commissioner. So this will be his first Big 12 Media Days as commissioner and is going to take the stage at noon on Wednesday. Yormark has become the face of the Big 12 Conference in a way his predecessors never did, and frankly never seemingly wanted to. But in less than a year he’s become a bold and fearless leader for the league that was in desperate need of exactly that. And now, he kicks off the unofficial start of the 2023-24 athletic year with comments, followed by Q&A, on Wednesday, in what will be arguably the most interesting part of the entire week.
And of course, this topic will be something that nearly every person in attendance will get asked, from Yormark down to the janitor at AT&T Stadium, where Media Days is taking place this week. All eyes remain on some of the Pac-12 schools, and since their media days event doesn’t happen until later in the month, it will be the Big 12 who will be the first to make comments on the topic of potential expansion. It’s been months that we’ve speculated about who the Big 12 might be adding, and obviously, none of it has come to fruition. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still lingering out there. It is. And it remains a serious possibility. Let’s see if we learn more this week or if anyone tips their hand.
Four New Faces
Welcome UCF, BYU, Cincinnati, and Houston to the Big 12 Conference. This is nearly two years in the making since the Big 12 was thrown into chaos in late July of 2021 and just a few weeks later the league decided to add these four teams. It’s been months of anticipation and excitement and the time is finally here to welcome these teams into the league and see whose personalities shine on and off the field, who becomes competitors immediately, who needs to ramp up as a program, and how each fits in. I think each of these programs brings something beneficial and unique to the Big 12 that will only further the league and the brand and I can’t wait to get the relationship started this week in Arlington.
Goodbye Texas and Oklahoma
So long, OU and UT. This is their last Big 12 media days and I’m sure there will be plenty of questions around their departure. I’d imagine the coaches and players in attendance will mostly deflect questions regarding their final season in the Big 12. But it would only take one slip-up to get some solid bulletin board material from a coach or player this week about leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. And given the number of questions that will be asked on the topic, I don’t think it’s impossible we get exactly that.
But regardless, this will create an awkward situation for all involved. It’s like when a couple remains living together in the final weeks before a divorce. Granted, I’ve never done it and have zero intentions to, but that’s what I’ve heard. So needless to say, this should be an interesting week on that front.
From Hunter to Hunted
For the last several years, the Big 12 has been so unpredictable that we’ve had six different Big 12 teams play in the conference title game the last four seasons. Oklahoma and Baylor have appeared twice, but then it’s also included Iowa State, TCU, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State. However, many of these teams have had disappointing follow-up seasons after their Big 12 title appearance. Baylor made the title game in 2019 and then won two games in 2020. Iowa State won the Fiesta Bowl in 2020 and then went 7-6 the next season. Oklahoma State and Baylor met in the Big 12 title game two years ago and then both had very mediocre 2022 seasons. So what’s in store this fall for TCU and K-State? TCU lost a lot of players from a team that reached the National Championship game, while K-State returns much more, but both are going from being overlooked to now being the hunted. There’s always something complex that makes it difficult to quantify for teams who are not used to being in that position. We will see how TCU and K-State begin that phase this week in Arlington.